A Hiking Guide To Cedar Mesa

The Cedar Mesa country in southeast Utah is a land of convoluted cliffs with arches, natural bridges, hoodoos, spires, hat rocks, ledges, and alcoves. It is a land of flash floods and extreme temperatures that demands much from those who would explore it. It is also an unparalleled museum of geological features and ancestral Puebloan culture. This fascinating culture flowered for more than a millennium and visitors to southeast Utah are treated to a sampling of archaeological wonders.

A Hiking Guide to Cedar Mesa describes sixty-three routes, ranging from quarter-mile walks to fifteen-mile day hikes, loops, and multi-day backpack trips. There is essential information on permits, weather, gear, road, trailhead access, geology, human history in the region, and leave-no-trace camping.

Care is given to name only those well-known archaeological sites that are visible or immediately accessible from roads. Throughout, the author emphasizes proper visitation protocol for fragile archaeological sites. He states, "I have been touched by this landscape and would prefer to keep its teachings and secrets to myself, but I cannot. The experience of the desert should be available to everyone with the motivation to encounter it."

Peter Francis Tassoni has worked as a river guide and BLM ranger. His articles on adventure and the environment have appeared in regional and national periodicals.

Table of Contents:
List of Maps

Ancestral Puebloan Culture
Early Archaeological Expeditions
Settlement History
Conservation Geology
Wilderness Stewardship and Desert Travel
Equipment and Trip Preparation
Permits and Regulations
How to Use This Guide

Hike Summaries

Hike Descriptions
1. Natural Bridges National Monument
NBNM Loop Road
Upper White Canyon
Upper Armstrong Canyon
NBNM Bridges Loop

2. Utah State Highway 95 Section
Step-Pine Canyon Loop
Grand Gulch Rim
Salvation Knoll
Mule Canyon Indian Ruin
Dry Wash Canyon Overlook
South Fork Mule Canyon
Mule Canyon Loop
North Fork Mule Canyon
Arch Canyon Overlook
Mule Canyon Towers Ruin
Butler Wash Ruin Overlook
Ballroom Cave

3. Butler Wash Section
Fish Mouth Cave
Cold Springs Cave
Monarch Cave
Procession Petroglyph Panel
Double Stack Ruin Loop
Sand Island Petroglyph Panel
Wolfman Petroglyph Panel
River Petroglyph Panel

4. Comb Wash Section
Comb Wash Cave
Arch Canyon
Arch Canyon Ruin
Walnut Knob Petroglyph Panel
Lower Mule Canyon
Lower Fish Canyon

5. Utah State Highway 261 North Section
Kane Gulch
Owl Canyon
Todie Canyon
Sheiks Canyon
McCloyd Canyon
Bullet Canyon
Government Trail–Big Man Panel
Government Trail–Pollys Canyon Loop
Slickhorn Canyon Access #1–Access #2 Loop
Slickhorn Canyon Access #4–Access #6 Loop
Road Canyon
Lime Creek Canyon
Upper Johns Canyon Loop
West Fork Johns Canyon Loop
Muley Point Overlook

6. Utah State Highway 261 South Section
Honaker Trail
Johns Canyon Rim
Middle Johns Canyon
Lower Johns Canyon
Goosenecks Overlook State park
Valley of the Gods Driving Loop

7. Utah State Highway 276 Section
Cow Tank Canyon
Collins Spring–Banister Ruin

8. Backpack Routes
Step Canyon
Arch-Texas-Butts Canyons
Kane Gulch–Bullet Canyon
Kane Gulch–Government Trail
Kane Gulch–Collins Spring
Owl-McCloyd-Fish Canyons Loo[
Slickhorn Canyon Access #1–Access #2 Loop
Slickhorn Canyon Access #1–Johns Canyon Loop
Collins Spring Canyon–San Juan River
San Juan River–Kane Gulch

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